Applications Open for $1.5B in 2023 RAISE Grants
Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a Notice of Funding Opportunity for $1.5 billion in grant funding through the 2023 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program.
This year’s program aims to aid communities carry out critical freight and passenger transportation infrastructure projects, with the requirements of RAISE allowing project sponsors to obtain funding for projects that are harder to support through other DOT grant programs.
“The historic investments the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing today will help communities across the country modernize their transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“After decades of underinvestment in America’s infrastructure, we are supporting projects that help people and goods get where they need to go more safely, efficiently, and affordably.”
Current Funding Opportunity
According to the DOT’s release, this year’s NOFO builds on the success of the RAISE program as authorized in the bipartisan infrastructure law by refining the rating rubric and continuing to give priority to safety, environmental sustainability, mobility and community connectivity, and quality of life.
Half of the funding will reportedly go towards projects in rural areas, with the other half going to urban area projects. RAISE projects are reviewed and evaluated on statutory criteria of:
Any projects designated “Reconnecting Extra” during the FY 2022 Reconnecting Communities Program competition and submitted for consideration under the 2023 RAISE NOFO will reportedly have a greater opportunity to be advanced during the FY 2023 RAISE evaluation process.
Additionally, at least $15 million is guaranteed to go towards projects located in Areas of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Communities. Projects in these areas will be eligible for up to 100% federal cost share, as directed by Congress in the bipartisan infrastructure law, the DOT reports.
The DOT is also encouraging applicants to consider how their projects can address climate change, ensure racial equity and remove barriers to opportunity. The RAISE program will reportedly be used to support wealth creation and the creation of good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union, the incorporation of strong labor standards, and training and placement programs, especially registered apprenticeships.
The NOFO is available here, with the deadline for applications running until 11:59 PM EST on Feb. 28, 2023. Selections will reportedly be announced no later than June 28, 2023.
Previous RAISE Awards
In September, the DOT announced that more than $2.2 billion was awarded from the RAISE program for transportation projects. In total, 166 infrastructure projects across the country were awarded funding from the grant program, including:
According to the release, projects were evaluated on several criteria, including safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, partnership and collaboration, innovation, state of good repair, and mobility and community connectivity.
Then, the Department considered how projects will improve accessibility for all travelers, bolster supply chain efficiency, and support racial equity and economic growth, especially in historically disadvantaged communities and areas of persistent poverty.
Because of the bipartisan infrastructure law, which provides an additional $7.5 billion over five years for the program, this year’s allocations include more than $2.2 billion. Half of this funding is reportedly designated for projects in rural areas, while the remaining 50% is designated for projects in urban areas.
The DOT reports that nearly two-thirds of projects are located in areas of persistent poverty or historically disadvantaged communities. The largest grant awarded is $25 million, but, per statute, no more than $341.25 million can be awarded to a single state in this round of funding.
Additionally, 11 of this year’s selected projects include a local hire provision. Several projects reportedly include workforce development aspects with four projects having project labor agreements, eight projects have registered apprenticeship programs and an additional eight projects with other workforce development provisions.
The full list of awarded 2022 RAISE projects can be found here.
In November of last year, the DOT announced nearly $1 billion in infrastructure grants through the discretionary grants program. Funding was awarded to 90 projects in 47 states and the District of Columbia and Guam. The maximum grant award was $25 million, with no more than $100 million being awarded to a single state.
USDOT announced examples of projects representative of the overall grants awarded:
RAISE Transportation Grants for the 2021 Fiscal Year were awarded on a competitive basis to road, bridge, transit, rail, port or intermodal transportation projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. USDOT awarded 50% of funding to projects in rural areas and 50% to urban areas, per statute.
The RAISE Discretionary Grant program was previously known as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants.
Congress has reportedly invested nearly $9.9 billion for thirteen rounds of National Infrastructure Investments to fund projects that have a significant local or regional impact. According to USDOT, the department has received more than 10,400 applications requesting more than $185 billion for transportation projects since 2009.
Selection criteria for this year included safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation and partnerships with a range of stakeholders.
A full list of Capital Awards can be found here and a full list of Planning Awards can be found here.